6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Sussex Life today click here

The Bell in Ticehurst: Restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 10:40 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:42 09 January 2018

Fish and chips

Fish and chips

Archant

The Bell in Ticehurst on the Kent/East Sussex border is a charming 16th century inn with rooms – and a lively programme of events

On a blustery winter’s evening there’s not much that beats a slothful session in front of the fire. So it’s a relief to find that after a long drive to Ticehurst the hearth at The Bell is roaring away merrily.

The pub has a cosy snug to the right of the entrance, with sofas perfect for post-prandial sprawling, while the bar and restaurant stretch out to the left. The décor is pleasingly eccentric: top hats as lampshades, a pillar of books and placemats adorned with the same legend which decorates one of the walls: “I will always love you my friend”.

But all that style would ring rather hollow if the place didn’t have the substance to back it. The Bell remains a proper local pub, with regular events including stand-up comedy and community cinema. Drinkers haven’t been neglected in favour of more lucrative diners and many of the bar tables are occupied on a Tuesday evening.

South American head chef Oscar Fonesca comes to Ticehurst from Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant in Mayfair and has also spent time in the kitchens of Le Manoir aux Quatre Saison and The Hand and Flowers in Marlow. The menu here is reassuringly concise: seven starters between £6 and £7.50 and eight mains from £12 for a vegetarian dish to £23 for sirloin steak. To start, we choose wild mushroom arancini, which are incredibly moreish – crisp coating giving way to the unctuous risotto filling – and come with a lively tomato relish. The other dish of colourful butter-poached carrots is presented very attractively and comes with a velvety smooth puree and textural puffed rice – an unusual and successful dish.

Bread is not provided complementary but charged at £3, which will annoy some; for me it removes the temptation to gorge between courses. Which is fortunate because the cod and chips is both exemplary and extraordinarily filling. The batter has been vivified with Harvey’s ale and is a genuine triumph – crisp as you like and deceptively light, the cod beneath it delicious too. Comforting carbs come by way of fat golden chips and the mushy peas are fresh and lightly minted. Carl requests the hake fillet without chorizo (two out of three fish dishes come with variations on pork); the fresh, tender fish matching beautifully with the rich piquillo pepper sauce and new potatoes.

From an exceedingly tempting dessert menu we fix on a chocolate moelleux with homemade honeycomb and clementine. It provides a perfect ending: indulgent and creamy without plunging us into a sugar coma.

The quirky details continue to the end of the meal – the bill comes inserted between the pages of a vintage book. While the quirky touches are obviously very carefully curated, the whole experience is authentic and utterly delightful.

The Bell, High Street, Ticehurst TN5 7AS; www.thebellinticehurst.com

More…

Noah’s Ark Inn in Lurgashall: Restaurant review - The Noah’s Ark Inn has been delighting Lurgashall’s residents and visitors since the 16th century. Jenny Mark-Bell finds it merits its good reputation

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sussex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sussex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sussex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Voting is now open for the 2018 Celebration of Sussex Life Awards. It’s our fifth annual championing of the county’s stars and will be taking place at The Grand Hotel, Brighton on Thursday 25 October

Read more

Laura Paton visits Horsham’s The Pass and finds exciting food served with infectious enthusiasm

Read more

Over the past three years there has been a revolution in Worthing’s restaurant culture

Read more

Grabbing something quick to eat doesn't have to mean compromising on flavour. Hazel Sillver presents some of the best light bites and street food across Sussex

Read more

Whether you’re looking for fine dining, pub food, a romantic meal for 2 or a taste of something from further afield, eating out in Sussex really has something for everyone. Here’s our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more

Pascere displays touches of brilliance but according to Laura Paton the restaurant hasn’t quite achieved its full potential

Read more

Hazel Sillver presents some of the best cafés and restaurants across Sussex to head to for eggs Benedict, Bloody Marys and lashings of coffee

Read more

Huw Griffiths of Ford-based company Besmoke says they are the only company in the world capable of what they do

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Sussex's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search